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God Cares for Me – Psalm 23 (LESSON)


Audience: Children, (possibly youth if you ham it up quite a bit to engage them)

Scriptures:    Psalm 23

Description:    This lesson teaches about a shepherd and how he cares for his sheep.  It makes comparisons to Jesus as The Shepherd who cares for His sheep (those who believe in Him).  It also briefly introduces David as a shepherd in anticipation of beginning his story during the next lesson.

Rhyme Time:    God loves me; I’m under His care.
Wherever I go; He’s always there!

Time:    30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Shepherd’s costume (sheet with a hole for your head to go through, belt made out of a piece of fabric, 3 ft x 2 ft piece of fabric to go over your head, headband made out of fabric)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s staff  (The size and shape of the staff are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a long, slender stick (maybe 6 ft or longer), with a hook on one end.  It can be natural or manmade.)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s rod (The size and shape of the rod are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a straight, long (4 ft or longer) and about 2 inches in diameter, with a knob at one end.  This knob helps the shepherd use the rod for defense.)
o    Sheep hats (can be as simple as headbands with cotton ball ears) for the kids who will help you with your lesson.  (I recommend 6-8.)
o    Snake, wolf, bear, lion and fly hats (differently colored headbands with ears that represent each animal – one of each)
o    A Ziplock bag full of good, green grass and a Ziplock bag full of dead grass or weeds.
o    A glass off clean water and a glass of muddy water.
o    Olive oil (one bottle)
o    Mustard powder (one can / bottle)
o    Cinnamon or other powder in spice form (one can / bottle)
o    Bowl for mixing oil and powders
o    Spoon for mixing oil and powders
o    A bag with some rock salt in it.
o    Optional – A “wool coat” – a large piece of fabric with cotton balls on it to represent wool.

Preparation:
o    Most of the information for this lesson was taken from a book entitled, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller (1970, HarperCollinsPublishers).  It’s a good read and a good story if you have the time and can find a copy.
o    Make costumes, and have them on-hand.
o    Set out bowl, spoon, oil and powders.  You will mix them during the lesson.
o    Find all the Scriptures from the lesson and bookmark them in a Bible for your reading volunteer.
o    Gather some good grass and some bad grass, and fill two Ziplock bags with them.
o    Pour some clean water in two glasses, and make one of them dirty with a little dirt.
o    Optional – if you use the “wool coat,” you will need to make it out of a piece of fabric with some cotton balls glued to it.  After you’ve made it, drag it through the soil and grass to make it dirty and clogged.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “There is a very famous psalm that many people have memorized, because it gives them peace and calm when they are going through difficult times.”
o    “Does anyone know which psalm it is?”  (Take responses if there are any.)
o    “Right, it’s Psalm 23.  It’s very short, but it has a lot of meaning.”
o    “It was written by David, the most famous and loved king of the Israelites.”
o    “It’s a poem about God that describes Him as a Shepherd watching over a flock of sheep.”
o    “David, of course, knew all about shepherds and sheep, because he was a shepherd boy until the time that he killed Goliath, the giant.”
o    “So, using everything David knew about being a shepherd, he tells us what God is like.”
o    “Jesus liked the metaphor, too, because He said to His disciples in John 10:11, ‘I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.’”
o    “So, let’s take a look at Psalm 23 and see what it tells us about God from a shepherd’s point of view.”  (Ask for several volunteers to come up and be your sheep.  Put the hats on them, and have them get down on all fours in a “flock.”  Ask other volunteers to act as a wolf, lion and bear.  Put the hats on them, and tell them that their job is to go to the edges of the room and only come to attack the sheep if they wander away from the others.  Then, have a volunteer read Psalm 23:1.)
o    “The first part of that scripture says, ‘the Lord is my Shepherd.’  Sheep can’t just take care of themselves.  They need a shepherd.”
o    “If they are left alone, they wander off and get into trouble.”  (Ask your volunteers to wander around by crawling to different places in the room.  When one wanders near the “snake,” the “wolf,” the “bear” or the “lion,” rush to save it.  The “snake,” “wolf,” “bear,” and “lion” should pretend to attack the sheep.)
o    “We are like those sheep.  We often get ourselves into trouble when we go wandering away from our Good Shepherd, Jesus.”
o    “It’s also important to follow only the Good Shepherd.  We must know His voice so that we don’t follow the wrong shepherd.  Jesus talked to His disciples about this.”  (Have volunteer read John 10:1-5.)
o    “The LORD is my Shepherd – not Satan or anyone working for him.  We only listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, and we only follow Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:1 again.)
o    “The Scripture says ‘I shall not be in want.’  That means that, because the Lord is my Shepherd, I will have everything I need.”
o    “It doesn’t mean that I’ll get everything that I want to have – just that I’ll have everything I need to have.”
o    “A good shepherd gets up early every morning and goes to inspect his flock.”
o    “He examines them to make sure that they are healthy and happy and able to stay on their feet.”  (Pretend to look over your sheep to make sure they are okay.)
o    “He can easily tell if they are sick or if they need special attention.”
o    “His sheep don’t need anything, because a good shepherd takes care of everything that is necessary for them.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2.)
o    “It is almost impossible for sheep to be made to lie down unless four needs are met.”
o    “#1 – They must not be afraid.”
o    “Sheep are afraid of many things and for good reason.”
o    “They have no way to defend themselves.”
o    “Their only means of protection is to run.”  (Allow wild animals to attack, and have the sheep run away in all directions.  Then have the wild animals return to their places, and go gather up your flock.)
o    “Nothing makes sheep feel more secure than to see their good shepherd in the field with them.”
o    “For us, we can be calm and free from fear, because we know that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is always with us.”  (Have volunteer read Deuteronomy 31:6.)
o    “God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  In other words, He will never give up on us, even if we mess up sometimes.”
o    “Because of this, we can be strong and courageous!  God is all-powerful, and He will protect us!”
o    “#2 – If you want your sheep to lie down, they can’t be in fights with other sheep.”
o    “Sheep are mean to each other.”
o    “You would think that with all their other enemies, they would be nice to one another, but they aren’t.”
o    “Older sheep stiffen their legs, tilt their heads, arch their necks and butt the young ones as hard as they can.”  (Demonstrate this behavior playfully with your flock.)
o    “And rams are even worse.  When they are fighting over girlfriends, their necks swell and get strong.”
o    “They furiously butt their heads and horns together to see who is the strongest, and some even die this way.”
o    “When the young sheep are worried about bullies, they start to get edgy and lose weight, so a good shepherd will defend the weaker ones.”
o    “With the rams, he puts grease on their heads so that they slip off each other when they collide.  That way, none of them get hurt.”  (Playfully demonstrate this with two of your flock.)
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about the bullies in our live, but He says in His Word that He will take care of us.”  (Have volunteer read Ezekiel 34:15-16 and then Ezekiel 34:20-22.)
o    “The third thing that needs to happen for sheep to lie down and rest is that the sheep must be free from flies and other insects.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come up and put on the fly hat.)
o    “There is a certain type of insect, called a nose fly.  They love sheep and buzz all around their heads, trying to deposit their eggs in the wet places on the sheeps’ noses.”
o    “If the flies lay their eggs in the sheeps’ noses, worms will hatch and crawl up into the sheeps’ heads, causing irritation and inflammation.”  (Have fly volunteer ‘buzz’ around the sheep and pester them.)
o    “It drives the sheep crazy!  To get relief, they will beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, bushes…anything.  They will rub them on the ground, and some even kill themselves just to get rid of the feeling.”
o    “A good shepherd will dip the sheep in chemicals and coat their heads in oil to keep the flies off of them.”   (Shoo away your fly volunteer, but don’t have them sit down just yet.)
o    “For us, the flies represent our worries, our fears, and our frustrations that keep us from resting and having peace.”
o    “They buzz around in our heads, looking for a place to land and lay their eggs.”  (Have your fly volunteer buzz around you.)
o    “If we allow them to stay, these fears and worries will paralyze us and keep us from doing all the things God wants us to do.”
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about these, and He offers us perfect peace if we will just trust in Him.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:5.)
o    “Every time we have a negative thought, He asks us to capture it and take it prisoner until our thinking becomes obedient to God.”  (“Capture” your fly volunteer, and hold him/her still for a moment.)
o    “You see, Satan is the father of lies.  He lies to us all the time.  In fact, he can’t even tell the truth, because his native language is lying.”
o    “But God will always tell us the truth.”
o    “When we have a negative thought, we should ask God about it.  He will tell us if it is true or not.”  (Have fly volunteer have a seat.)
o    “The fourth and final thing that a good shepherd has to do to help the sheep rest is to make sure they aren’t hungry.”
o    “Sheep will eat bad grass and drink bad water even when good grass and good water are available, because….well….they just aren’t that smart.”  (Offer your flock a choice between the Ziplock bags of good grass and bad grass.  Then offer them a choice between the clean water and the dirty water.  Try to really sell the bad stuff.)
o    “I’m sorry to say this, but we are a lot like those dumb sheep.”
o    “Our spirit is thirsty for what God calls ‘living water.’”
o    “Living Water is the Word of God – the Bible.”
o    “It satisfies our spiritual thirst and gives us peace and joy.”  (Take a drink of the clean water.)
o    “Unfortunately, we will drink just about anything but Living Water in order to satisfy our thirst.”
o    “We want sticky, sweet things, and we try to satisfy our spiritual thirst with money or entertainment or other things that can sometimes be bad for us.”
o    “We drink lots and lots of them, because even after we drink, we are still thirsty.”
o    “The only thing that can satisfy our spiritual thirst is God and His Word.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2 again.)
o    “The second part of that verse talks about quiet waters.  Some Bible translations call them ‘still’ waters.”
o    “You see, sheep need quiet or still waters, because rivers and streams are dangerous for a 300 lb washcloth with ears.”
o    “If the sheep slips into the water, it will start soaking up water and sink to the bottom.”  (You might sprinkle some water on the sheep just for laughs at this point.)
o    “So the shepherd would go to the stream and use stones to divert some of the water into a pool.” (Pretend to use rocks to divert a stream.)
o    “There, the sheep could drink without being afraid.”  (Have your flock pretend to drink.)
o    Water in Scripture often points to God’s Word.  I told you that it is sometimes called, ‘Living Water.’”
o    “We need to drink deeply of God’s Living Water every day during the still hours of the morning.”
o    “If we will make the time for Him, He will divert some special truths for us and teach us wonderful things.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3.)
o    “Sheep sometimes get ‘cast down,’ a term that means they get turned upside down like a turtle.”  (Demonstrate with one of your flock.)
o    “Sheep get cast down when their wool gets too heavy or when they lie down in a place that isn’t level.”
o    “When they realize that they can’t get up, they panic and start kicking their legs frantically.”  (Demonstrate with your flock.)
o    “This causes gasses to build up in its body and cut off the blood supply to its legs.”
o    “If the shepherd doesn’t ‘restore’ the sheep to its feet soon, it will die.”
o    “He restores it by gently rolling it on its side and massaging its legs.” (Demonstrate.)
o    “Sometimes, we get ‘cast down.’”
o    “We feel sad, depressed or hopeless, but we can’t get back on our feet.”
o    “God comes along during those times and encourages us through prayer, His Word or through other people.”
o     “I mentioned that a sheep would often get cast down because of the heavy weight of his wool coat.”  (If you have it, put the imitation wool coat on one of your flock.)
o    “To prevent this, the shepherd would shear the sheep.”  (Pretend to shear your flock.)
o    “Sheep hate being sheared, and they will fight it with all their energy sometimes.”
o    “But once it’s over, they feel so good, because their wool coat is always caked with mud and poo and fleas and ticks and burrs.”
o    “Wool represents our sinful nature.  Priests were not allowed to wear it into the Temple of God for this reason.”
o    “Our sinful nature gets so clogged up with dirt and nasty stuff that it’s a huge relief when God takes the shearing clippers to us, but we don’t like to be sheared.”  (Show children the clogged wool coat.)
o    “Shearing represents God’s discipline in our lives.  It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it is very necessary to help us get free from our sin.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3 again.)
o    “Sheep are creatures of habit, and they will blindly follow a sheep in front of them even if they are going in the wrong direction.”  (Have flock demonstrate by getting a “lead” sheep to walk in circles.)
o    “We do that sometimes, too, but God will lead us down new, righteous paths that honor Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
o    “Sheep are low on the food chain, and almost everything is a threat to them.”
o    “Wherever they go, they are surrounded by enemies.”  (Have “enemies” circle in close to the sheep.)
o    “Christians, too, have enemies everywhere.  Satan attacks us whenever he sees a chance.”
o    “But God is with us, and we never need to be afraid.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4 again.)
o    “A shepherd has two main tools for leading the sheep – a rod and a staff.”
o    “A rod looked like this.”  (Show rod.)
o    “It was typically cut from a young tree and carved to specifically fit a young shepherd’s hand.”
o    “A young shepherd boy would spend hours and hours practicing his throw with his club, learning how to send it whistling through the air with speed and accuracy.”
o    “This way, he could defend the sheep from their enemies (pretend to scare away some of the enemies with the rod) and keep the sheep from going into places they shouldn’t.” (Demonstrate how you could use the rod to scare a sheep away from a place where one of their enemies (i.e., a snake) could be hiding.)
o    “The shepherd’s staff was entirely different.”
o    “It was designed like this (show staff) in order to be of the most help to the sheep.”
o    “It was a long, slender stick with a hook at the end.”
o    “The hook was used to bring sheep closer for inspection or to unite a new lamb with its mother without getting the scent of a man on it.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “It was used to guide the sheep along the right path or as a gentle way to let the sheep know that the shepherd was near.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “This is a picture of God’s justice and His mercy – of His discipline and His grace – of His protection and His care.”
o    “The rod represents God’s authority, power and discipline, and the staff represents His grace and unconditional love.”
o    “Some people think of God as only power, justice and discipline; some think of Him as only love.”
o    “Neither are a complete picture.  God is both justice and mercy – both discipline and grace – and all of it is done because of His love for us.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5.)
o    “A table to a shepherd is a table mesa – a high place in mountain country, where sheep are led to graze in the summer months.”
o    “The shepherd goes ahead of the sheep and prepares the area by pulling poisonous weeds and scouting the area for dangers.”
o    “He takes salt and minerals and spreads them over the whole area so that the sheep will eat them and improve their diet.”  (Pretend to spread the minerals, and then have your sheep graze.)
o    “God does the same for us.  He blesses us even in the middle of all our enemies.”
o    “And Jesus told us in John 14:1-4 that He is preparing a place for us in heaven.”
o    “He said that He’s coming back to get us and that He will lead us to that place He has prepared.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5 again.)
o     “David, the writer of the psalm, is talking about a few things in the last part of this verse.”
o    “When guests came to your home for dinner in Israel, your responsibility to them included anointing their heads with oil and to making sure they had plenty to drink.”
o    “The anointing was to moisten the skin, since Israel is surrounded by desert.”
o    “But it was also a token to say that this person is special.”
o    “Shepherds used anointing, too.”
o    “Remember about the nose flies I told you about?”
o    “Remember how the shepherd would put oil on the sheep’s head to keep the flies away?”
o    “The shepherd would mix olive oil or linseed oil with sulfur and tar.”  (Mix oil, cinnamon and mustard powder in the bowl, and then smear a little on the forehead of each of your sheep.)
o    “The flies couldn’t land, so the sheep stayed calm.”
o    “God anoints us – not with oil typically but with the Holy Spirit.”
o    “This anointing sets us apart as special to God.  It marks us as His children, and it protects us from Satan’s evil plans.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:6.)
o    “Sheep have really good poo.  It’s so good that they are sometimes called, ‘the animals with the golden hooves.’”
o    “After they have left a grazing place, all their poo fertilizes the ground and makes it even better for growing things.”
o    “So when David talks about ‘goodness following him all the days of his life, it’s kinda funny.”
o    “The sheep poo; everything grows – goodness follows them everywhere they go.”  (Have your flock walk around, and follow them.  Say, ‘A little goodness here; a little goodness there.  Goodness, goodness, everywhere.  Thanks, little guys!’)
o    “For us as Christians, we ought to leave everything better than we found it.  By doing that, we leave goodness and mercy everywhere.”
o    “Finally, David tells us that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
o    “This will be true for any Christian – especially when we get to heaven.”
o    “But with the sheep, this last line tells about how sheep are safe if they stay with the good shepherd.”
o    “As they dwell in his house (a shelter from the weather), they can be sure of their safety.”  (Dismiss volunteers, and thank them.)
o    “We are all a lot like sheep.  The Bible says that we are all like sheep who go astray (Isaiah 53:6).  That’s why we need a Good Shepherd to lead us and to help us in this world.”

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, David, Joseph, Sheep, Shepherd

The Gift – A Biblical View of Sexuality (LESSON)


Time
3-4 hours (You may want to do this in segments of about an hour apiece.  The material easily breaks at the headings.  Of course, you are welcome to present only pieces of the material, as well.)

Audience
Youth and Young Adults – Please use caution and discretion when presenting this material.  It should not be presented without the knowledge and consent of parents and church leadership.

Description
This lesson helps youth and young adults to understand God’s plan for sex.  It shows that sex is a battlefield for the spiritual warfare between God and Satan and encourages kids to take a stand for sexual purity so that they can give the “gift” of sex to their life partner on the day of their marriage.

Materials
•    Participant guides – “Gift, The – A Biblical View of Sexuality – PG” (available on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.)
•    Pens/pencils for the kids to use to take notes
•    A box (about the size of a shoe box should be fine)
•    Ribbon and a bow
•    Tape for wrapping the gift
•    Assorted items to put in the box so that it makes noise when you shake it
•    A roll of duct tape
•    Whiteboard and markers
•    Note cards

Preparation
•    Make copies of the participant guides (one per person), and pass them out.
•    Put the assorted items into the box, and wrap it as nicely as you can.
•    At some point, I recommend giving a few note cards to each youth or young adult and allowing them to anonymously ask questions about sex on the cards.  You might want to hand out the cards before your lesson and explain their purpose, or you might want to wait and hand them out after the first or second parts of the lesson.  Collect the cards in an envelope or bag, and give yourself at least an evening to pray over them and formulate your answers.  I have found this to be a good exercise that allows them to ask some honest questions that are troubling them about sex.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

“The Gift”
•    “Today, we are going to talk about God’s view about sex.  Each of you has a participant guide and something to write with, so please take notes with me.”
•    “Let’s start at the beginning.  Can I get a volunteer to read Genesis 2:18-25 for me?”  (Select a volunteer to read.)
•    “Woman came from man.  It’s a beautiful picture.  Man and woman were once one.  Now, to regain that oneness, we need each other.”
•    “Notice that they were both naked and unashamed.  It was pure and good.  In fact, Genesis 1:31 tells us that God said, ‘it was very good.’”
•    “God gave Eve to Adam as a gift – a companion that was like him, a companion who he could share everything with – his thoughts, his emotions, his body, his spirit.”
•    “Sex was a crucial part of that gift, because it was through sex that the man and the woman experienced complete and total oneness – at least as complete and total as we can experience.”
•    “Well, a lot has changed about sex since God first gave it to Adam and Eve, but He still gives it to us as a gift.”
•    “In fact, it is one of the best gifts you will ever get in your entire life!”
•    “I can’t really even describe to you how incredible it is; it is precious and wonderful!”
•    “God is a giver.  He gets excited about giving us gifts – especially one as special as the gift of sex, but He doesn’t want us to open the gift until it’s time.”
•    “Remember when you were younger and Christmas was coming?”  (Pick up gift and hold it where it can be seen.)
•    “Wasn’t it exciting to see that gift under the tree?”
•    “To look at the gorgeous wrapping?  To shake the box?”  (Shake the box.)
•    “Did you ever want to just take a peek and see what was inside?”  (Wait for some responses.)
•    “Me, too.  Will any of you admit to having peeked at a gift or two during your lifetime?”  (Wait for responses.)
•    “Sometimes it just feels irresistible, doesn’t it?  You can’t stand not knowing what is inside that package.”
•    “But what happens if you peek?” (Pretend to peek behind the paper, and listen for responses.)
•    “Right.  Guilt, dread at being caught, a ruined surprise, no joyful Christmas morning.”
•    “Why is that?”  (Listen for responses – you are waiting for someone to say something like, “We took the gift before it was time” or “We got to see the gift in the wrong way.”)
•    “Exactly!  A Christmas gift has a specific time when it is supposed to be opened.”
•    “If you open it early, you ruin the surprise and the joy of discovery on Christmas morning.”
•    “While everyone else is saying, ‘Oooooh!’ and ‘Ahhhhh!’ and ‘Wow!’ you are feeling miserable and doing your best to fake excitement.”
•    “A very important part of my message to you today is that sex is like that Christmas gift.”
•    “It has a very specific time when it is supposed to be opened, and that is on the day of your wedding.”
•    “If you open it before then, you will ruin the surprise and take away much of the joy.”
•    “But if you can just wait until the right time, that gift will be a joy and a surprise to you and your spouse for the rest of your married life.”
•    “And there is another reason why you should wait to open it…because the gift is not really for you!”
•    “Sure, you have access to it, and you can open it if you want to, but it doesn’t belong to you.”
•    “That gift was given to you to cherish and protect until the day you give it to the person it really belongs to – your marriage partner.”
•    “God has given it to you, and you are the steward of the gift.  It’s your job to keep it safe and in excellent condition until that special day.”
•    “The good news is that someone out there has a gift that God gave them for you, too.”
•    “Hopefully, they are doing a good job of keeping it safe.”
•    “Some people don’t.  They take the gift and share it with other people….sometimes a lot of other people.”
•    “When you share the gift with anyone other than your spouse, you are doing something you have no right to do.”
•    “It’s not yours to share.   You’re just keeping it until it’s time to give it to its rightful owner.  You are just the steward, the keeper of the gift.”
•    “Think about it this way.  What if I had a gift to give you for Christmas, but before I gave it to you, I shared it with several different people?”
•    “I let them open the gift and use the gift, but then I decided that they weren’t the right people to share the gift with, so I took it back.” (Start unwrapping the gift.)
•    “Unfortunately, while they had it, they took off the nice wrapping paper.  They scuffed it up and dented it.  They used it for purposes it wasn’t intended for.”  (Continue unwrapping the gift.  Toss it around some, drop it and/or step on it.)
•    “So, when it’s time for me to share it with the one it was intended for, it’s no longer new and special.”
•    “Most likely, it is damaged in some way, and it could be damaged in such a way that it could even hurt the person I give it to.”
•    “I can do my best to rewrap it and cover up the dents and the scuffs and the tears, but I’m not going to be able to hide them for long.”  (Try to rewrap the gift in a hurried way.)
•    “How special would you feel if I gave you a gift that looked like this?”
•    “Would you feel like you were the most special person in my life?”
•    “Or would you be hugely disappointed?  …especially if you had saved my gift for me even though I shared yours.”
•    “Would you be just a little angry that I had shared your gift with strangers and let them do whatever they wanted to with it?”
•    “Well, you would have a right to be angry.  That would be incredibly insensitive and selfish of me.”
•    “We should do whatever it takes to protect the gift…to save it for that one person God intended it for.”
•    “But it won’t be easy.  I don’t know if you know it or not, but there is a war going on.”
•    “It’s a spiritual war between the armies of God and the armies of Satan, and one of their main battlefields is the gift of sex.”
•    “Satan wants to destroy the gift, and he is doing everything in his power to corrupt it, distort it, cheapen it, dent it, break it, twist it, poison it and pervert it.”
•    “To know why, we need to look at God’s purposes for sex.  There are three.  You can fill in the blanks in your participant guide.”

God’s Purposes for Sex – “POP!”

gods-purposes-for-sex-fg1
•    “Procreation – it means having children.  In Genesis 1:28 God commanded man to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’  He wants us to fill the earth.”
•    “Oneness – this is a mystery – no one knows exactly what it means, but through sex, two people become one – not just physically, but also spiritually, mentally and emotionally, as well.  Genesis 2:24 says that a man will ‘leave father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.’”
•    “Pleasure – this is the one people have the most trouble with.  Satan has so twisted our view of sex that many people think of it as dirty or bad, but it’s not.  It’s glorious and wonderful when it’s the way that God intended it.  Proverbs 5:18-19 says ‘May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.  A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you be captivated by her love.’ and the book of the Song of Solomon is a picture of the beauty and joy of the pleasure of sex between a married couple.”
•    “God wants us to enjoy the gift that he has given to us, and He doesn’t want us to feel bad about it.  He rejoices when a married man and woman give themselves fully to one another during sex.”

“The War”
•    “But remember, there is a war going on in the spiritual realm, and sex is at the middle of it.”
•    “Satan absolutely hates sex as God intended it, because of the three reasons we just covered.”
•    “When a married man and woman have sex, they create families and bring joy and hope into the world through the miracle of conception and birth.  Babies are full of potential, and when they are born to Christian families, they are likely to believe in the God of their mothers and fathers.”
•    “The closeness a man and woman experience during sex is the closest picture of the oneness of God in his three Persons.  We can actually understand this mystery much better when we experience the oneness of sex.”
•    “Finally, the pleasure that we feel during sex is offensive to Satan.  He doesn’t want us enjoying what God gave us.  That might lead us to feel gratitude and love for our Creator.”
•    “Satan hates sex, because it is powerful!  …the incredible gift of a loving God.”
•    “Let’s see where all this started.  Can I get a volunteer to read Genesis 3:1-7 for me?”  (Select volunteer to read.)
•    “Notice that the first consequence of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was shame about their nakedness.  That’s a sexual consequence.”
•    “Satan’s first attack has a sexual consequence.  I think that is very interesting.  We should be asking, ‘What does sex have to do with the battle between Satan and God?’”
•    “Everything!  It’s a key battlefield!  Because of the three purposes God has for sex, it’s crucially important.”
•    “Now, there was nothing shameful about Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness.  Nothing changed in their bodies when they ate the fruit.  What changed was in their minds.”
•    “When they ate from the tree, they started to think about their nakedness differently than they did before.  This is where their shame came from.  Not from what God created but from what they did mentally with what God created.”
•    “So, this is Satan’s strategy.  He can’t do any damage to God, Himself, so he hurts the Creator through His creation.”
•    “By attacking us and the gift that received from God, Satan brings God grief.”
•    “And it didn’t stop in the Garden.  Satan is still attacking us and the gift.”
•    “I’m going to break you into small groups right now, and I want you to brainstorm all the different ways that Satan is attacking the gift of sex in the world today.”  (Break the kids into groups of 3-5, and have them brainstorm ways Satan is attacking the gift of sex.  They can write their answers on the second page of their participant guides.  If you need to give them a few ideas to get them started, mention pornography, sexual abuse, distorted views of what beauty is, etc.  Allow them five minutes to brainstorm, then have them share one idea per group until all ideas have been captured.  I recommend writing them on a whiteboard so that they can see the arsenal Satan is leveling against the gift.)
•    “Isn’t this incredible!  Can you believe how many different ways Satan is attacking the gift?”
•    “There was an interview with a veteran pilot who flew missions in Viet Nam, and he said something very interesting that I think applies here.  He said that you get the most flak (that’s the anti-aircraft artillery that you sometimes see exploding near planes on old war films) when you are over the target.”
•    “In other words, the enemy doesn’t bother to shoot at you if you are hundreds of miles from the target, but the closer you get, the more flak is coming your way.”
•    “When you are right over the target, he is going to fire everything he has at you.”
•    “Do you see what I’m pointing out?  Satan is launching all this firepower at the gift of sex.  That means it must be hugely, crucially important!”
•    “When we get close to God’s understanding of sex, we are threatening Satan’s strongholds.  We are right on top of what Satan doesn’t want us to discover.”
•    “Sex is a key battlefield in this spiritual war.”

“Rules for the Gift”
•    “God has set down some rules for the gift.”
•    “We don’t need to read them, but there are twenty-one rules for the gift of sex in Leviticus 18, and Leviticus 20 tells us what the consequences for breaking the rules will be – mostly death.”
•    “Basically, the rules are – no sex with…family, a woman during menstruation, someone else’s husband/wife, (related to) idol worship, persons of the same sex, animals.  I know, gross.”
•    “These are pretty good rules, but there’s no death penalty anymore – at least not physically.  What will die if you break the rules is your relationship with Christ and your ability to experience the beauty and wonder of the gift.”
•    “The New Testament is more appropriate for us to read about God’s rules for the gift.  Can someone read for us 1 Corinthians 6:15-20?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•    “Paul tells us that our bodies…are one with Christ…are the temple of the Holy Spirit…not ours….purchased at a price.”
•    “We are to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits.”
•    “Now, can someone read Ephesians 5:3-7?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•     “Okay, so we are not to allow even a hint of sexual immorality in our lives – not even sexual joking – because it is not appropriate for those who have been united with Christ.”
•    “Do you see the graphic on your third page?  Let’s fill that in.”

sex-uniting-god-with-fg

•    “God says that we are not to unite our bodies (or Him, because we are the temple for the Holy Spirit) with:
o    “Prostitutes, The Promiscuous (those that have sex a lot) or The Public (anyone other than our spouse)” – (Do duct tape example.  Invite several young men up, and put duct tape on their forearms.  This doesn’t work well in humid environments, so you might want to have some rubbing alcohol and a cloth close by to prepare the men’s arms.)
•    “This is a picture of what it is like to have sex.”
•    “The tape is now one with each man’s arm.”  (Then rip off the tape as quickly as you can.)
•    “When you are one with someone, and you separate, it hurts!”
•    “That person takes a piece of you with them that you will never get back.”  (Show the tape with the men’s arm hair stuck to it.)
•    “Now, if you unite in oneness with someone else, it’s going to be less ‘sticky.’”  (Reapply the tape to each man’s arm.  Then, rip it back off.)
•    “It’s easier to separate, but it’s also harder to create true oneness.”  (Reapply the tape and then rip off several more times.)
•    “The more you do this, the less ‘sticky’ (the less capable of true oneness) you will be.”
•    “By the time you marry, it may be very difficult for you to create oneness with your wife.”
•    “This is why God wants us to save our ‘stickiness’ (our oneness) for that one person.”
•    “Once you have lost your ‘stickiness,’ it’s very difficult (but not impossible) to get it back.”  (Thank volunteers, and allow them to return to their seats.)
o    “We should also not unite ourselves with ‘Our People (relatives), Our Parents or Our Progeny (our kids).”
o    “We shouldn’t unite ourselves (and God, remember) with ‘Porn.”
o    “…with ‘Persons of the same sex,”
o    “…or with ‘Perversions’ like animals and objects.”
•    “If you look at the list of things we are to avoid, it’s not really that difficult to follow God’s rules – especially if you never get started breaking the rules.”
•    “It’s when you cross the line that you get into trouble.”
•    “Once you cross it the first time, it’s much easier to cross it again…and again….and again…”
•    “So, that’s what God says we should stay away from.  Now let’s look at what He wants for us related to sex.”

“What God Intends”
•    “God wants us to experience the full beauty and joy of the gift of sex.  He’s given us some guidelines in Scripture that will help.”
•    “Can someone read for us 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•    “So, we are to have no sexual immorality, and we should control our bodies.”
•    “We are unique in all of creation.  We aren’t like the angels or the animals that were created before us.”
•    “Angels are spirits without bodies.  They don’t have sex.  They don’t procreate. God didn’t create them to participate in sex.”
•    “Animals, on the other hand, have bodies and maybe spirits but not in the sense that they consider their actions.  They never worry about temptation or lust.  They just do what animals do – they mate when it’s time to mate.  It’s a simple response to a biological need.”
•    “We are between these two sets of created beings on the continuum.  We have both body and spirit.  We have the ability to consider our actions, to be tempted, to lust but also to resist that temptation.”
•    “Angels can’t have sex; animals can’t resist, but we can, and God calls us not to be angels or animals.”
•    “We are not supposed to completely abstain from sex (at least not most of us), and we aren’t supposed to have it whenever the urge hits us.”
•    “God calls us to control our bodies.”
•    “Some people act like angels, because they are afraid of awakening their desire.  This is okay if God has called you to be single and to devote your life to serving Him, but Paul says that most of us can’t do that.”
•    “Some people act like animals, because they feel that they can’t help giving in to their lust.  But this is settling for so much less than God has planned for us.”
•    “God wants us to have sex, but He wants us to control our bodies so that we don’t open the gift before it is time.”
•    “Now, can someone read for us 1 Corinthians 7:3-5?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•    “This Scripture is for married couples, but it’s good for you to know it ahead of time.”
•    “It says that the husband has authority over his wife’s body, and that the wife has authority over her husband’s body.”
•    “Neither of them has authority over his/her own body in marriage.  They are to submit to each other sexually, because depriving their spouse from sex might lead your spouse into temptation.”
•    “Remember, the gift is not for you; you’re just holding it for your spouse.  Part of that gift is your body.”
•    “When a married couple follows this teaching, there is such harmony in their marriage.”
•    “It teaches them to always think of their spouse first, and by doing that, they become one.”
•    “The more they put their spouse ahead of themselves, the more they look like Christ, who always put the Father’s will ahead of His own.”
•    “Marriage is a beautiful wonderful tool that God uses to shape us in His image.  The less we think of ourselves, and the more we think of our spouses, the more we resemble Him.”
•    “Finally, there is the Song of Solomon.  We’re not going to read it here, because, honestly, it’s very graphic.”
•    “God gives us a very erotic picture of sex between a husband and wife in this book, and you should know that it’s there as you get closer to marriage.  It will help you understand what God intends.”
•    “You will probably need a commentary to unlock its symbolism, but it doesn’t take much help before you start to realize how graphic the book is.”

“What If You’ve Messed Up?”
•    “But what if you’ve messed up already?”
•    “I know that there is incredible pressure out there on young people to have sex before you get married.”
•    “If you’ve messed up, I have to tell you that you can’t get your physical virginity back.  It’s just not possible.”
•    “The gift will not be new and perfect when you give it to your spouse on your wedding day.”
•    “But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be special and wonderful.”
•    “God can redeem any sin that you bring to Him.”
•    “All you have to do is confess it and repent of it – make a 180 degree turn and head the other direction.  Commit to cherishing your gift from now on, and God will bless your commitment.”
•    “On your wedding day, you will still have something very special to share.  It won’t be exactly as God intended it, but it can be the next best thing.”
•    “The important thing is that you’ve got to put an end to whatever you’ve done or are doing, and you’ve got to do it right away.”
•    “In the first chapter of Joel, God tells about His judgment on the people of Israel for their sin.”
•    “He sent armies of locusts to devour everything in their path, and they left the land desolate.”
•    “He says in Joel 1:4: ‘What the locust swarm has left, the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.’”
•    “This is what happens to Christians who continue in sin that they know they shouldn’t be doing.  God disciplines His children, because He wants them to return to Him from their sin.”
•    “If you continue in sexual sin, the ‘locusts’ will do their work.  Your relationship with God will dry up; your prayers will stop receiving answers; your relationships with other people (especially those you are sinning with) will start to suffer…”
•    “But there is hope!  Restoration is closer than you think.”  (Have a volunteer read Joel 2:12-13 and then 2:25.)
•    “God says that if you will just turn back to Him, He will restore the years that the locust have eaten.  He will restore your relationship with Him and He will restore what you’ve lost in other areas, as well.”
•    “But the longer you persist in sinning, the longer and harder it is going to be to get back to God’s best for you.  God forgives you for your sins, but He will often allow you to suffer the consequences of them so that you will grow.”
•    “I would like to finish by telling you a story:”
•    “Maybe you’ve seen the e-mail that’s made several trips around the world or maybe you’ve heard the song. They are about a young girl who saw a string of gleaming white pearls at the dime store and fell in love with them.”
•    “They weren’t real, but to her, they were beautiful.”
•    “Working hard over the following weeks, she earned enough money (two dollars) to buy them and began wearing them everywhere she went – even to bed.”
•    “She only took them off for bath time, because her mother told her that they would turn her neck green if they got wet.”
•    “The girl’s daddy loved her immensely and would make time every night to put her to bed with a story and a kiss.”
•    “After finishing the story and tucking her in one night, her daddy asked her, ‘Sweetheart, do you love me?’”
•    “Enthusiastically, she answered, ‘Oh, yes, Daddy! Of course I love you!’”
•    “’Then give me your pearls,’ he said.”
•    “’Oh, no, Daddy! Not my pearls! But you can have Princess. She’s my favorite toy horse.’”
•    “’That’s okay, Sweetheart. I love you. Good night.’”
•    “He kissed her cheek and turned out her light as he left the room.”
•    “This exchange was repeated every night for a few weeks.”
•    “Each time, the young girl offered something other than her pearls, and each time her daddy patiently declined, kissed her goodnight and left the room.”
•    “Then one night, her daddy entered her room to find her sitting up in bed.”
•    “Her chin trembled, and a tear rolled down her cheek as she held out her pearl necklace to him.”
•    “’Here, Daddy. These are for you.’”
•    “With tears in his own eyes, her daddy reached out and accepted her dime store necklace.”
•    “Then, he reached inside his pocket and drew out a blue velvet case and handed it to her.”
•    “When she opened the case, she found a beautiful strand of genuine pearls.”
———-
•    “The story is such an accurate description of the exchange our Daddy wants to make with us if we are engaging in sexual sin.”
•    “Tight-fisted, we hang onto something cheap and unworthy of us.”
•    “The relationship might seem so important to us; it might seem like it’s the most important thing in our lives right now.”
•    “Maybe we aren’t sure how we can do without it…without him or without her.”
•    “Patiently, God continues to ask us to give it up.”
•    “Patiently, He listens to our excuses.”
•    “He waits for us to come to the point where we love Him more than we love this other person or this other thing and our sin.”
•    “When we do, He shares His plan for us, and it’s always ‘exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…’” (Ephesians 3:20, KJV)
•    “If you are in sexual sin right now, whether it’s a relationship or porn or something else, God wants you to know that it’s a dime store necklace compared to what He has planned for you.”
•    “The sooner you give it up, the sooner He can bless you with His best.”

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Filed under purity, Sex, Sexual Purity

Easter Story Bingo (GAME)


Time
30 minutes

Description
This game teaches the Easter story through the game of Bingo.

Materials
•    Copies of the eight different bingo cards (See the filed called, “Easter Story Bingo Cards” on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)  Each card has all the same pictures, but they have different placements.  You can choose whether or not you reveal this information to the children.
•    Something to act as blotters.  You can use coins, torn pieces of paper, poker chips…  You will need enough for all the children to use.  (I use candy and tell the kids that they get to keep the candy whenever they make a Bingo.)
•    Copy of the Easter story at the end of this lesson.
•    Optional – Prizes for getting bingos.

Preparation
•    Practice the script.
•    Print copies of the eight different bingo cards.
•    Distribute them randomly to the children so that each child has one.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game to tell the story of Easter.”
•    “Each of you has received a ‘Easter Story’ bingo sheet.  On it, you will see pictures that represent some of the events from the Easter story.”
•    “I’m going to read the Easter story out loud.”
•    “You have also received some blotters that you can use to put on the pictures as you hear me mention them in the story.”
•    “If you see a picture that represents something I mention in the story, put a blotter on top of that name.”
•    “The center space is marked, ‘G.R.A.C.E. Space.’  This one is free – like grace; you can put a blotter on it now.  It’s to remind you of God’s grace to us.  Grace is something that you get but didn’t earn, and the letters in the word stand for ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’”
•    “You see, we have all the wonderful blessings that God wants us to have, because Jesus paid for them on the cross.  We have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
•    “So, make sure you have a blotter on that center space, because it is already paid for.”
•    “Now, if you get five boxes in a row, in a column or in a diagonal marked, you have a bingo, and you should shout out, ‘BINGO!’”
•    “If you get a BINGO, you can keep playing and see how many BINGOs you can make.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
•    “Okay, let’s play!”  (Begin telling the story.  Be sure to emphasize the picture words as you reach them.  They are emphasized in the text below in bold and enlarged font.  Several pictures will be mentioned more than once, so the kids have multiple chances of finding them.  All Scriptures are taken from The Message, because it is more lyrical.   I’ve skipped some passages in order to shorten the game for children with shorter attention spans.  Chapters and verses are noted, and all four Gospels are used in order to give a more complete picture of the story.)
•    (Optional Follow-Up: Ask the kids to take their Bingo cards home and to try to retell the story to their parents, siblings or friends using the pictures.)

THE EASTER STORY

Matthew 26
Anointed for Burial
1-2 When Jesus finished saying these things, he told his disciples, “You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”

3-5 At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. “We don’t want a riot on our hands,” they said.

6-9 When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.”

10-13 When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”

14-16 That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over.

Luke 22
The Passover Meal
7-8 The Day of Unleavened Bread came, the day the Passover lamb was butchered. Jesus sent Peter and John off, saying, “Go prepare the Passover for us so we can eat it together.”

9 They said, “Where do you want us to do this?”

10-12 He said, “Keep your eyes open as you enter the city. A man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him home. Then speak with the owner of the house: The Teacher wants to know, ‘Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will show you a spacious second-story room, swept and ready. Prepare the meal there.”

13 They left, found everything just as he told them, and prepared the Passover meal.

John 13
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”

Luke 22
14-16 When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.”

17-18 Taking the cup, he blessed it, then said, “Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I’ll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives.”

19 Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory.”

20 He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

31-32 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”

33 Peter said, “Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!”

34 Jesus said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.”

A Dark Night
39-40 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”

41-44 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

45-46 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”

47-48 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49-50 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?” One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.

51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.

A Rooster Crowed
54-56 Arresting Jesus, they marched him off and took him into the house of the Chief Priest. Peter followed, but at a safe distance. In the middle of the courtyard some people had started a fire and were sitting around it, trying to keep warm. One of the serving maids sitting at the fire noticed him, then took a second look and said, “This man was with him!”

57 He denied it, “Woman, I don’t even know him.”

58 A short time later, someone else noticed him and said, “You’re one of them.”

But Peter denied it: “Man, I am not.”

59 About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant: “He’s got to have been with him! He’s got ‘Galilean’ written all over him.”

60-62 Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.

Mark 15
Standing Before Pilate
1 At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.

2-3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.

4-5 Pilate asked again, “Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.

Luke 23
4 Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.”

5 But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.”

13-16 Then Pilate called in the high priests, rulers, and the others and said, “You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him in front of all of you and found there was nothing to your charge.  It’s clear that he’s done nothing wrong, let alone anything deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

18-20 At that, the crowd went wild: “Kill him! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas had been thrown in prison for starting a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again.

21 But they kept shouting back, “Crucify! Crucify him!”

22 He tried a third time. “But for what crime? I’ve found nothing in him deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

23-25 But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down.

Matthew 27
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.”

25 The crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after us.”

26 Then he pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion.

Mark 15
16-20 The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.

The Crucifixion
21 There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.

22-24 The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

25-30 They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the King of the Jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”

Luke 23
34-35 Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Mark 15
33-34 At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

35-36 Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”

37-39 But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

Luke 23
50-54 There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.

Mark 16
The Resurrection
1-3 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?”

4-5 Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man (angel) sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.

6-7 He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

Luke 24
9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.

John 20
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Luke 24
50-51He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.

52-53 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.

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Filed under Agape Love, Angels, Christianity, Easter, Game, Games that Teach, Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, Love, Object Lesson, Resurrection, Simon-Peter, Spiritual Warfare, Thomas, unconditional love